Recipe: Smokey poached salmon and potato salad

This is another recipe featuring one of the wonderful sustainable Saltverk Icelandic sea salts. Once again, I relied on the internet to tell me which foods are common in Iceland and put a bunch of them together in dish that is easy to make, healthy and delicious.

If you have never poached fish before, I encourage to give it a try. The trick is to use a flavourful sauce or dressing to make the fish shine.

I used Spud Lite potatoes for this recipe for a slighter lower carb meal, but you can use whichever potatoes you can get your hands on.

Smokey poached salmon and potato salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salad

  • 400-450g skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 5-8 chives
  • 4 small or 2 medium potatoes (I used baby Spud Lite)
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 handfuls mixed greens
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Saltverk birch smoked sea salt
  • ground pepper, to taste

Dressing


To serve

  • Fresh dill or chives, chopped

Directions

  1. In a pot or deep saucepan, pour enough water to cover salmon fillets. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and chives, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling, turn off heat, add salmon fillets and cover. Set timer to 15 minutes.
  3. Peel and cube potatoes. Boil or steam until fully cooked (10-15 minutes).
  4. Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients or shaking them in a jar until fully emulsified.
  5. Serve greens and cabbage on a plate. Top with warm potatoes and salmon, drizzle dressing and finish with Saltverk birch smoked sea salt, pepper and chopped dill or chives.

Almonds

What’s the deal with almond milk?

It seems that almond milk is where soy milk was 8-10 years ago: available in supermarkets and most cafes and requested by customers who don’t do dairy. It’s also being used as a base for plant-based fermented products (e.g. yoghurt, kefir), ice cream, etc.

Interest in almond milk worldwide has been increasing over the past 10 years, especially in the past 7 years or so. In comparison, interest in soy milk has remain steady worldwide and increased only slightly in Australia over the same time period.

Almond milk trend worldwide

Almond milk trend Australia

What is almond milk?

No, it’s not the white fluid that comes out of tiny almond udders. In its basic form, it is water and almonds blended together and strained. It’s interesting to note that the Australian Nutrient Database defines almond milk as “a dairy milk substitute made from filtered water, almonds, agave syrup, sunflower oil, and salt, with or without added calcium.” (1)

The table below shows the ingredients list for several almond milks available in supermarkets. Notice the following:

  • The amount of almonds ranges from 2 to 11% (median 3.65% – not much!)
  • Unless the label reads “unsweetened” the product most likely contains added sugar
  • Besides added vitamins and minerals, some products include a number of extra ingredients, some of which better than others. Always read labels and don’t let buzz words mislead you.
Product Ingredients
Almo Milk Unsweetened Filtered water, 5% Australian grown almonds, calcium, non GM xanthan, sea salt
Almond Breeze Original Filtered water, raw sugar, ground whole almonds (2%), calcium carbonate (ground limestone), tapioca starch, sea salt, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, natural flavour
Almond Breeze Unsweetened Filtered water, ground whole almonds (2%), calcium carbonate (ground limestone), tapioca starch, sea salt, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, natural flavour
Australia’s Own Organic Almond Milk Filtered Australian water, organic almonds (3%), organic agave syrup, organic sunflower oil, salt
Australia’s Own Unsweetened Organic Almond Milk Filtered Australian water, organic almonds (3%), organic sunflower oil, salt
Community Co Unsweetened Almond Milk Water, ground almonds (2.5%), natural flavour, stabilisers (460, 466, 418, 415), mineral salt (170), salt, emulsifier (322) (sunflower)
Inside Out Original Almond Milk Filtered water, activated almonds (11%), Natvia™, vegetable gum (gellan), sea salt
Inside Out Unsweetened Almond Milk Filtered water, activated almonds (11%), vegetable gum (gellan), sea salt
MILKLAB Almond Milk Australian water, almonds (3.5%), sugar, sunflower oil, maltodextrin (from corn), acidity regulators (340, 332), vegetable gums (407, 410, 401, 412), sunflower lecithin, sea salt
Nutty Bruce Activated Almond Milk Filtered water (84.5%), activated organic almonds (10%), organic rice syrup, sea salt
Pure Harvest Activated Almond Milk Original Filtered water, organic activated almonds (10%), organic rice syrup, sea salt
Pure Harvest Activated Almond Milk Unsweetened Filtered water, organic activated almonds (7%), organic brown rice, sea salt, natural almond essence
So Good™ Almond Milk Unsweetened Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), mineral (calcium), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), natural flavour, salt, mineral salt (sodium bicarbonate), vegetable gum (gellan), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins (B12, B2, B1)
Vitasoy Almond Milk Unsweetened Filtered water, whole almonds (min 3.8%), mineral (calcium phosphate), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), sea salt, natural flavour, vegetable gum (gellan).

Is almond milk a good substitute for cow milk?

Depends! In culinary terms, some almond milks work well in place of cow milk in your morning coffee and to make anything from panna cotta to bechamel sauce.

Nutrition-wise, however, the composition of almond milk is quite different to that of cow milk. On average, cow milk is significantly higher calcium, energy, folate, iodine, phosphorus, vitamin A, potassium, tryptophan. It is also higher in naturally occurring trans fatty acids and cholesterol, although the levels are not concerning. Finally, cow milk is lower in sodium than almond milk. See chart below for a comparison per 100ml based on average values (1).

Cow milk vs almond milk

If you can’t or choose not to do dairy, please make sure you are obtaining the missing nutrients from other sources.

Which almond milk is better?

See the charts below for a comparison per 100ml of energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, sugar, fibre, calcium and vitamin E between the different products. Use them to help you select a product based on your needs or preferences (i.e. low fat, low carb, low sugar, etc.). My recommendation is to choose based on ingredients list first (the shorter and more natural, the better), sugar content second, calcium content third (prioritise this if you’re not getting enough calcium from other sources).

Protein and energy in almond milk

Carbs and fat in almond milk

Sugar and fibre in almond milk

If you can make your own, this is even better. Just keep in mind that it will go off after 2-3 days.

References

1. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2014). AUSNUT 2011–13 – Australian Food Composition Database. Canberra: FSANZ. Available at www.foodstandards.gov.au

Recipe: Savoury bliss balls

Savoury bliss balls are my kind of healthy treat. Even though I like looking at sweet treats such as brownies, cakes and regular bliss balls, I rarely want to eat them. I prefer savoury snacks most of the time.

In case you don’t know, bliss balls are those golf-sized balls you see at counters in cafes and in the health food aisles in supermarkets (e.g. Bounce balls). They’re typically made with nuts and/or seeds, some sort of sweetener (e.g. honey, maple syrup, dates) and some sort of flavouring (e.g. cacao powder, matcha, vanilla extract, spices). Some incorporate protein powder and/or collagen to be treated as a post-workout snack. They can be vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc.

But nobody out there makes savoury bliss balls! That’s why I decided to experiment with a few ingredients I thought would make great balls, texture and flavour-wise.

One of the main ingredients is hemp protein powder, which bumps up the protein content and makes the balls vegan, high-protein and low-carb. I used a Hemple sample I had lying around (pictured below), but you could use any neutral-flavoured protein powder instead.

Hemple hemp protein

Hemple hemp protein

These balls are great at room temperature, chilled or frozen (my personal favourite). Enjoy!

Savoury bliss balls

  • Servings: about 15
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in bowl with a spoon or spatula.
  2. Form balls.
  3. Eat.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 12.4g
Servings Per Container 15

Amount Per Serving
Calories 54.2 Calories from Fat 38.7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.3g 7%
Saturated Fat 1.0g 5%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0.3mg 0%
Sodium 20.5mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 1.9g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.6g 6%
Sugars 0.5g
Protein 2.6g 5%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter

Product review: Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter

Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter is the new awesome spread from the makers of awesome spreads. Their regular peanut butters (smooth, crunchy, dark roasted smooth and dark roasted crunchy) are among my favourites, as well as their other spreads. Yes, they can be a bit more expensive than other peanut butters but they tick all the boxes ingredients- and taste-wise.

The new Protein+ range has entered the market riding the wave of high protein diets popularity. The three varieties, Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter, Mayver’s Protein+ with Hemp Seeds Peanut Butter, and Mayver’s Protein+ with Super Seeds Peanut Butter, follow the brand’s philosophy of minimal ingredients lists, without any added oil or sugar.

Where does the Protein+ come from?

The three flavours have added peanut flour to achieve extra protein without added fat, plus seeds in the case of the hemp and super seeds varieties. Check out the ingredients lists below:

Mayvers protein peanut butter

  • Natural: roasted peanuts, peanut flour & salt
  • Hemp: peanuts, peanut flour, hemp seeds (5%) & salt
  • Super Seeds: peanuts, peanut flour, (chia seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, quinoa) (5%) & salt

And these are the nutritional panels:

Natural:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 20g
Servings Per Container 19

Amount Per Serving
Calories 97.1 Calories from Fat 75.6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.4g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.1g 6%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 79mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 2.6g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.8g 7%
Sugars 1.4g
Protein 6.4g 13%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Hemp:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 20g
Servings Per Container 19

Amount Per Serving
Calories 97.5 Calories from Fat 76.5
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.5g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.1g 6%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 3.2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.8g 7%
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 6.4g 13%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Super seeds:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 20g
Servings Per Container 19

Amount Per Serving
Calories 96.7 Calories from Fat 75.6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.4g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.0g 5%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 2.7g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 8%
Sugars 1.3g
Protein 6.4g 13%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

What about the taste and texture?

Taste-wise my favourite is the natural flavour, followed by the super seeds, followed by the hemp. Nothing wrong with any of the flavours, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

While not super thick, these peanut butters are definitely on the thicker side and the mouthfeel can be a bit gritty, particularly in the natural flavour. If smooth silky peanut butter is your thing, stick to the regular smooth options.

Can I use this peanut butter in recipes?

Absolutely. I made a test batch (recipe coming soon) of bliss balls with the natural PB and it worked perfectly.

You can find more information in the following links:
Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter
Mayver’s Protein+ with Hemp Seeds Peanut Butter
Mayver’s Protein+ with Super Seeds Peanut Butter

Recipe: 2-ingredient devilled eggs

Devilled eggs are one of those foods that look very retro but come and go in waves. According to Wikipedia, they date back to ancient Rome (!)

Devilled eggs are hard-boiled eggs that are cut in half. The yolks are mixed with binding agents such as mayonnaise and placed back into the egg white cavities. They are mostly a party food but are also wonderful for picnics, as a snack or as part of a meal when paired with veggies.

If you can get your hands on good quality spicy mayonnaise (such as Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo), you only need a couple of ingredients to make magic happen. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, paleo, primal, low-carb and keto. Enjoy!

2-ingredient devilled eggs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


Directions

  1. Steam eggs for 10 minutes. Cool down under cold running water. Place them in a bowl of cold water until they have cooled down completely (about 10 minutes).
  2. Peel eggs and split in half.
  3. Scoop out yolks and place in a bowl.
  4. Mash yolks with a fork, mix with mayonnaise.
  5. Pipe or spoon yolk mix back into egg halves.
  6. Serve in a platter.

Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

Product review: Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

It’s been a few weeks since I opened my jar of Primal Kitchen mayo and I’m happy to report that its texture and flavour remain untouched. This is why I decided to try Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo.

What is in Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo?

Just like the original version, try the chipotle lime mayo is all natural, sugar/soy/canola/dairy/gluten/grain-free, etc. The ingredients list is relatively short and all of them are recognisable as “food”: avocado oil, organic cage-free eggs, organic cage-free egg yolks, organic vinegar, water, sea salt, organic lime juice concentrate, chipotle powder, lime granules, organic garlic powder, organic rosemary extract.

Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

I enjoyed both the creaminess and taste of this mayo. It’s not too spicy but it does have a bit of heat that pairs well with the smokey chipotle and the tangy lime.

Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

What is chipotle?

Chipotle is a smoked dried jalapeño chilli. It’s one of my favourites because it’s not super hot and imparts a nice flavour to many foods. You’ll find it most often in hot sauces and, more recently, in mayonnaise. In a sense, chipotle mayo is the new(er) aioli.

Why avocado oil?

(This is copy-paste from my previous Primal Kitchen mayo review). Avocado oil, like olive oil, is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). There is evidence to suggest that MUFAs are beneficial for cardiovascular and metabolic health, and that they are more stable than polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). I’ll be writing a more in-depth post about this in the future.

Bottom line

If you like flavoured mayonnaise, and especially if you enjoy spicy flavours and Tex-Mex cuisine, this is a good product to try. As far as I know, it is only available online from US stores such as iHerb.com.

Recipe: Chorizo frittata

This is an easy, tasty recipe that makes good use of leftover frozen vegetables. You can have it for breakfast or serve it with a big salad for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Chorizo frittata

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 chorizos
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups frozen or cooked fresh spinach
  • 1.5 cups frozen or cooked fresh cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 9 eggs
  • 100-150g semi-firm cheese, such as tasty or havarti, shredded
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Slice the chorizos.
  3. Heat ghee/oil in a pan at medium heat and cook chorizo. Place at the bottom of a small roasting dish.
  4. If using frozen vegetables, put them in a bowl and microwave until thawed. Drain excess water.
  5. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the vegetables and cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over chorizo.
  6. Cook until eggs are set and top is brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with salad and/or fermented vegetables.

Recipe: Mum’s burgers

Last time I went home I asked mum for recipes of meals I really miss. Her burgers, a simple weeknight meal, were on the list. She used to serve them with rice (otherwise it’s not a meal, according to many Peruvians) and occasionally a little salad. I used to pour tomato sauce all over the rice; these days I prefer serving the burgers with salad (coleslaw is my personal fave) and some good mustard.

Mum's burgers

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp minced tomato
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil in a pan at low-medium heat, cook onion, tomato and garlic until soft.
  2. In a bowl, mix beef mince, onion, tomato and garlic, egg and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Form patties, heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil, cook patties 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with salad.

Recipe: Ground beef and cabbage

Here’s an simple nutritious recipe you can make on a week night using ingredients that are easy to come by.

Ground beef and cabbage

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 green onions, cut in long segments
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan, brown beef.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, mix well until beef has finished cooking.
  3. Add cabbage, stir until cooked through.
  4. Add green onions, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, add tamari, fish sauce and lime juice, stir and serve.

Recipe: Ground beef and green beans

Here’s an simple nutritious recipe you can make on a week night using ingredients that are easy to come by.

Ground beef and green beans

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • a couple of handfuls of green beans
  • 6 green onions, cut in long segments
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • sesame seeds, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan, brown beef.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, mix well until beef has finished cooking.
  3. Add green beans, stir until cooked through.
  4. Add green onions, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, add tamari, oyster sauce and vinegar, stir and serve.